Success story

Leadership Onboarding with on target® executive coaching

Industry: Automotive

Key Challenges

  • Provide executive coaching for leadership who has transitioned to a new role
  • Avoid a “self-managed” onboarding process

Solution and Services

  • on target® executive coaching
  • are you connected® Survey or Team Alignment session

Solution Highlights

  • Provided executives with valuable feedback from stakeholders
  • Created a purposeful plan to establish the right relationships and understand the new culture and structure
  • Resources to support coaching action items for HR leadership

Key Benefits

  • VWGoA avoided costly derailment of several key leaders
  • New leaders feel supported and more confident in their role
  • VWGoA can stay competitive for future growth
volkswagen driving

An Automobile Industry Leader Needs Solution-Driven Leadership

As the automobile industry shifts into global, modular platforms for industry growth, it is more vital than ever to identify emerging leadership within the organization. Innovative leadership is needed to build strong foundations that will increase revenue in a sustainable way for the long term. The Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA), headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, is the North American operational headquarters and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of automobile companies of Germany. VWGoA has a long history of promoting their leaders from within the organization. Although the name Volkswagen is synonymous with the innovative Beetle, strategic leadership was needed to drive the U.S. brand to profitable growth. They needed leadership who could hit the ground running and training that support the demands of a tough economic climate.

The Challenge: Leaders Who Adapt To New Roles Quickly

The organization has a well-established practice of strategically moving high-performing leaders into different roles and markets around the world. As a multinational organization, VWGoA benefits from the experiences leaders bring from previous roles, as well as the cumulative knowledge gained. Often, the organization and the leaders assume they have the data and context needed to easily transition into executive positions in the US-based operations.

While the relationships build an understanding that successfully navigating the corporate structure is extremely valuable for an executive, assumptions that previous achievements will also position them for success in their future role can be misplaced. The consequence of not developing a purposeful strategy and plan to integrate into their new roles often delays an executive’s trajectory toward success and productivity. As a result, the organization loses precious time and progress. VWGoA was facing a gap between leadership potential and the need for performance-driven results.

A Smoother Transition For Leaders

The HR leadership understood they needed help to avoid the potential pitfalls of a “selfmanaged” transition or onboarding, including the tangible and intangible consequences felt by the business and the executive’s team. To address this critical need, Connect the Dots partnered with HR to apply its on-target® executive coaching process to leaders that were transitioning from other parts of the global organization. Key components of the coaching solution included:

  • Customized coaching plan with objectives, early wins and timing
  • Structured coaching sessions
  • Assignments to apply learning and meet objectives
  • Candid feedback and recommendations for action or change
  • are you connected?® Early Feedback Survey or Team Alignment session

Although the leader was not new to VWGoA, he had not been in the US market for several years. It was critical that neither he nor his key stakeholders assumed that he was knowledgeable about the market, internal processes, etc. Resources to support coaching action items were given to the leader and the HR leadership.

A Smart Investment Reaps Invaluable Results

The leader onboarding coaching model provided both the new leader with the tools and resources at the right time throughout the onboarding time period. The are you connected?® survey provided the transitioning leaders with valuable feedback about how successful stakeholders perceived the leader to be. The coaching work enabled the leaders to create a purposeful plan to establish the right relationships and understand the new culture and structure leading to both short and long term success.

VWGoA faces an increasingly challenging competitive market. Their leaders must learn how to set up and control product-development and supply systems so complex they’ll make today’s already-sophisticated systems look simple. In addition, quality will be more important than ever, as just one single recall could end up affecting numerous brands and models.

With the on-target® executive coaching process, VWGoA now has leadership training that is built to reach their organization’s goals, confident they understand the parameters of their key performance indicators. And they are well on their way toward achieving stronger sales in the U.S. automobile market as a result.

Our team-connect Survey Process


We start with thoughtfully diagnosing the team’s current culture by using available data, assessments and interviews.

This provides the team leader with a clear view of what is getting in the way of the team’s success.

We design a series of structured team sessions that:

  • Share the team culture analysis
  • Give team members the opportunity to talk through both processes and behaviors that need to be addressed
  • Productively provide feedback to one another
  • Develop both team and individual commitments that will lead to the team’s desired state


Measure progress by leveraging CTD’s team-connect Survey to:

  • Drive accountability and measure progress by collecting team feedback specific to one another’s engagement and behavioral change
  • Provide the team’s leader with a clear understanding of what he/she and the team need from each other to enable and support the team’s success
  • Share team and individual survey result reports